Sadie Bagdasian was your average elementary school child, growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., before things took a turn in 2008.
In the fall of 2008, she began eating abnormal amounts of food, and drinking an insane amount of water, despite not changing her activity levels. At only eight years old, this was quite out of the ordinary, and she was rushed to the hospital in just a few days time.
It turns out, Sadie was experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis, which in short, is a life-threatening medical condition where the blood begins to turn acidic. If left untreated, it could be deadly.
Luckily, it was caught in time, and she left the hospital the next day. On November 7, 2008, she was diagnosed with diabetes, and from then on, her life would be changed forever.
Each and every day, on top of regular responsibilities, she must monitor her blood sugar carefully, in order to keep her health in check at all times.
“I use a censor that is a continuous glucose monitor. It also has bluetooth, so it connects to my phone, which is a lot easier than having to prick my finger multiple times a day,” Sadie says.
Adapting to life with the censor wasn’t always easy, though. It’s something that is constantly visible on the outside, and is sometimes hard for people to understand, according to Sadie. Once she found her solid group of friends and her place at Penn State, the sophomore public relations major’s college experience improved drastically.
“You have to find a good support system, people who appreciate you,” Sadie says.
Keeping her blood sugar in line is key. If it gets too high, she’ll have headaches or fatigue, or if it’s too low, she’ll feel weak and shaky. For most of us, we can eat a meal and not think twice about how many carbs or sugars are in our food, but for Sadie, she must count every carb and inject insulin in order to make sure her body can handle what she is eating.
“You get the hang of it,” Sadie says. “I know by now how many carbs are in a piece of bread or a tortilla, but I still have to make sure I’m keeping track.”
Being a college student and constantly on the go, it can be difficult for Sadie to keep track of what she is eating and her blood sugar, along other responsibilities while at school.
“It’s harder to manage in college, because it’s a lot more responsibility on your own. I definitely notice an impact if my sugars get too crazy,” Sadie says.
Finding a positive outlet to share her story has been a huge part of Sadie’s growth during her time in college. She entered college as an education major, but after discovering her passion for communications, switched to public relations.
She also started an Instagram, @type1.on.the.run, as well as a blog, allowing her to share her story and connect with other individuals who have type 1 diabetes.
“Writing a blog and having this Instagram has really helped me connect with others and has given me an outlet,” Sadie says.
She attributes so much of her growth and acceptance of her situation to these platforms, and knows there are so many opportunities that lie ahead in her field.
“Find your people and find an outlet. Figure out a way to express how you feel about your situation. It takes time and courage, but it’s worth it.”